Monday, February 17, 2014

Ready-to-steal Dread characters (Night Vale)

My second Night Vale Dread game got cancelled - no one showed up just because a catastrophic snow storm was descending upon us. Freaking casuals. However! That's no reason not to share my revised character questionnaires with my adoring public. 

In Dread, the host (GM) creates a unique character questionnaire for each character. The answers players provide help dictate their role-playing choices and can sometimes be used to help them avoid pulls. For example, say you come across a locked door. A character might be asked to pull to try to pick the lock. But if you put in your backstory that you spent time in prison for B&E, you might not have to pull to get through. Creating questionnaires is more art than science... and I am still trying to perfect my form. For the purpose of the one-shot pickup games I run at my FLGS, I usually limit my questionnaires to 6-7 questions, whereas a typical Dread questionnaire is about a dozen questions long. I also added a twist with "Secret Identities," which tied the characters to the Night Vale community in some way. I'll include those in a separate post.

Oooh, mysterious! 

Background: You are members of a research team that has come to figure out just what is going on in Night Vale, the most scientifically interesting community in the United States. For example… seismic monitors indicate that catastrophic earthquakes are happening, but no one feels anything. An elderly woman named Josie claims that Angels visit her on a regular basis, and help out with household chores. The sun doesn’t set at the correct time, and indeed it seems that none of the clocks from Night Vale actually work. A few weeks ago, a strange glowing cloud appeared above the city, dropping dead animals of increasing size. Then it disappeared without a trace, and any digital recordings of it were also wiped clean. Then there’s Hiram McDaniels, a five-headed dragon, approximately 18 feet tall, with mostly green eyes, and weighing about 3600 pounds… he’s wanted by the Sheriff’s office, under suspicion of insurance fraud. And just the other day, all books stopped working - when you tried to read them, they started emitting sparks and, somehow, biting. These are just some of the mysteries you have come to Night Vale to investigate. But you all have your own secrets as well…

By the way, I modeled each of these after a famous scientist character. See if you can guess which one is which!

Astronomist (Thesis Topic: Timing of the Sunset)

1. When you started that project, you never dreamed it would cost you your reputation. If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?

2. How did you find out that the man that raised you was not your real father? What did you do once you had this information?

3. You have been an atheist all your life. What changed?

4. After your funding was cut, you built your own equipment and perform experiments in your free time. Does the equipment work? What does it do?

5. You have a secret crush on one person on the team. Who is it? (Collaborate at the table)

6. What is your secret identity? (Draw one at the table)

7. What is your name?

Parapsychologist (Thesis Topic: Apparitional Experiences, aka Old Woman Josie’s “Angels”)

1. Are you a believer (in God, Angels, etc)? Why or why not?

2. You were a child prodigy who could do advanced calculus in your head at the age of five. But you grew up on a dairy farm. What was that like?

3. What object do you carry with you at all times? Why?

4. Why have you been afraid of heights since the age of nine?

5. There is someone on the team that you can’t stand. Who is it? (Collaborate at the table)

6. What is your secret identity? (Draw one at the table)

7. What is your name?

Seismologist (Thesis Topic: Unfelt Earthquakes)

1. With your wealth and connections, you could be doing anything (or nothing) with your time. Why science?

2. As a teenager, you had a catastrophic falling-out with your best friend, who you now consider to be an enemy. What happened?

3. You could have had cosmetic surgery to remove the scars. Why didn't you?

4. Where did you get that ring you always wear?

5. Who do you feel is your closest friend to on the team? Why? (Collaborate at the table)

6. What is your secret identity? (Draw one at the table)

7. What is your name?

Chemist (Thesis Topic: Glow Cloud)

1. Who in your family was also a chemist? Did they pressure you into the field? Why or why not?

2. Your research partners in college stole your ideas and made themselves rich. Did you seek revenge? Why or why not?

3. You have a unique hobby. What is it?

4. You left behind a family when you came to Night Vale - an estranged wife, a son with disabilities, and a newborn daughter. Do you still keep in touch with any of them?

5. You got drunk with one member of the team and really opened up to them. Who was it? Do you regret it? (Collaborate at the table)

6. What is your secret identity? (Draw one at the table)

7. What is your name?

Paleontologist (Thesis Topic: Varanus polycephalus, aka Hiram McDaniels)

1. You were once approached by an eccentric billionaire, who proposed the resurrection of several extinct species through cloning. Did you go along with his proposal? What was the outcome of your decision?

2. How did your wife die?

3. How did you get to be so physically strong? Is it something you brag about?

4. You have strong feelings about children. What are they? How did you come to feel this way?

5. You owe someone on the team a big favor. What did he/she do for you? How will you pay her/him back? (Collaborate at the table)

6. What is your secret identity? (Draw one at the table)

7. What is your name?

Library Scientist (Thesis Topic: Sparking/Biting Books)

1. Why did you quit your lucrative job as the head of Gotham City Public Library?

2. Growing up, you always assumed you’d go into the family business. Are you pleased that you did not?

3. You’ve always been extremely attractive. Has that been a help or a hindrance?

4. At one point, you were considering a career in politics. What changed your mind?

5. You’ve been following the work of one of you teammates for years. Who is it? Why is their work so remarkable to you? (Collaborate at the table)

6. What is your secret identity? (Draw one at the table)

7. What is your name?

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